What is magnetic saturation?

The term magnetic saturation refers to a state in which a magnetic material cannot be further magnetized, even if an external magnetic field continues to increase. The phenomenon occurs in ferromagnets, but is not observed in other magnetic materials such as paramagnets or diamond magnets.

How does magnetic saturation occur?

A ferromagnet consists of small magnetic domains that are in a disordered state. As soon as an external magnetic field is applied, these domains align, creating an overall magnetic effect. As the field strength increases, the aligned domains also increase and the degree of magnetisation of the material increases.

However, there is an upper limit to the magnetization which is called magnetic saturation. Once the material reaches this point, no further domains can be aligned, so the magnetization remains constant, regardless of the field strength. The magnetic material is now saturated.

Magnetic saturation occurs because of the limited number of magnetic moments in a material. Ferromagnetic materials have a high number of magnetic moments per unit volume that can contribute to alignment. Once these moments are aligned, no further magnetization can be achieved.

As an important concept in materials science, magnetic saturation also plays a role in technological applications such as the production of permanent magnets. By choosing suitable materials and optimizing magnetic saturation, the performance and efficiency of magnetic components can be significantly improved.

What is magnetic saturation influenced by?

Magnetic saturation depends on several factors, including material composition, material structure and temperature. For example, higher temperatures can reduce magnetic saturation, since thermal energy disturbs the alignment of magnetic moments.